[forum] Re: [XFree86] Invitation for public discussion about the future of X

Keith Whitwell forum@XFree86.Org
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 11:37:34 +0000

XFree86 BOD wrote:

> It has been brought to the attention of the XFree86 Core Team that one
> of its members, Keith Packard, has been actively (but privately) seeking
> out support for a fork of XFree86 that would be led by himself.  He is
> also in the process of forming a by-invitation-only group of vested
> interests to discuss privately concerns he has about XFree86 and the
> future of X.  He has consistently refused to even disclose these concerns
> within the context of the XFree86 Core Team, which makes his membership
> of that team unviable.  As a consequence, Keith Packard is no longer a
> member of the XFree86 Core Team.

What specifically does the XFree86 bod see as being wrong with the idea of a 
'by-invitation-only group' managing X server development?  Isn't that exactly 
what the core team & xfree86 BOD have been doing all along?

Maybe the core team & bod could explain what is being hinted as a new spirit 
of openness and how that is proposed to effect the XFree86 development process 
and strategy?  Will it mean forinstance an end to the sort of 
behind-closed-doors discussions that appear to have lead to this announcement?

Please forgive my somewhat cynical tone...  The best strategy to fight a fork 
would be to open up XFree & thereby make forking unnecessary.  It seems like 
that is whats being attempted, but can the leopard change its spots? 
Sometimes I wonder if it knows it has them.

OK - some concrete proposals, with cynicism turned off:
	- Make BOD minutes public
	- Open all core team meetings to the public, and if feasible post minutes, 
transcripts or even audio feeds.
	- Extend CVS access to regular contributors.  Use scripts or whatever to 
control access to subtrees if you want.
	- Consider dropping the BOD and core team ideas in favour of an elected 
committee.  Examine recent trends in managing other large projects.

Just generally get down off your high horses and accept that the developers 
out there won't wreck xfree86 if you let them participate & accept them as 

Of course, if xfree starts accepting more developers, it will make it harder 
for us in the dri tree as we tend to benefit from xfree's exclusionary 
practices -- developers find it easier to get cvs access for DRI than XFree86, 
so we pick up some talented developers that get fed up of waiting for patches 
to be applied to xfree cvs.  But then again, what is the dri tree but a 
friendly fork to workaround for xfree's closed development methodology?  If 
xfree really opened itself up, the first thing they'd do is extend an 
invitation to merge with the dri project, right?  Maybe that's the acid test, 
  or maybe it's whether we'd accept...


Disclaimer:  Not speaking for anyone except myself, I had no prior knowledge 
of these events, and my employer is definitely *not* one of the 'vested 
interests' mentioned above.